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November 22, 2019

Politics

Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau
Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau

Town Selectmen: Don't Balance State Budget On Local Taxpayers' Backs

Don't tread on us, Ned. That's what town and city officials are telling Gov. Ned Lamont and state lawmakers in Hartford.

As if the federal mortgage tax deduction cap wasn't damaging enough to Connecticut taxpayers. Now, state lawmakers are considering shifting the rapidly rising, multi-million-dollar cost of teachers' pensions to the annual property tax bill. 

While a state Education Committee recently scrubbed the proposal in a bipartisan vote, state lawmakers aren't ruling out bringing the proposal back if needed to help balance the two-year state budget. 

Until the state budget is passed by its June deadline, almost anything can happen, according to Kevin Maloney, a spokesman for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM)

The change might help erase a nearly $4 billion state budget deficit. But it would send towns and cities scrambling to balance their own budgets this spring. The change would result in huge payments owed to the state treasurer on Dec. 31. If approved by state lawmakers, nearly $24 million would be shifted from state income tax collections to town and city property tax bills this year alone.

The Town of Fairfield expects to owe about $692,000 to Hartford at the end of the calendar year, and millions in future years if the pension proposal passes by the June deadline. 

"We're coming out of a 10-year recession," said First Selectman Mike Tetreau of Fairfield. "The state needs to have a better long-term plan. They don't want to raise the income tax, so they want to raise the property tax."  

If they're ultimately asked to absorb the rising cost of teachers' pensions, towns and cities will get huge bills payable by Dec. 31 to help balance the state budget.

  • Stamford, $1.4 million
  • Greenwich, $1.3 million
  • Norwalk, $1.1 million
  • Fairfield, $692,000
  • Westport, $608,000
  • Trumbull, $511,000
  • New Canaan, $493,000
  • Danbury, $479,000
  • Wilton, $463,000
  • Ridgefield, $459,000
  • Stratford, $422,000
  • Shelton, $317,000